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The Nevada Connection – October 2021

Chairman's Message

By Michael Kidd, PLS

Mr Kidd was recently elected by the Board to serve as chair effective July 1, 2021.  He was initially appointed to the Board by Governor Brian Sandoval July 1, 2014. Governor Sandoval reappointed Michael, July 1, 2017, to serve his second three-year term.  His was reappointed July 1, 2020, to serve his third three-year term by Governor Steve Sisolak.

Congratulations to past chairwoman Karen Purcell, PE for successfully leading the Board through COVID related challenges while guiding the Board through the removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers to licensure.  Reflecting on the past year, it’s difficult to imagine that for nearly two-years, Nevada would still be impacted by COVID-19.  The Board continues to operate at full capacity, and the Reno office continues to be open to visitors (Monday -Friday, 8am to 5pm).  Office visitors are asked to practice social distancing and wear face coverings.  To ensure public participation in board meetings, the Board continues to hold meetings virtually.

During COVID the Board adapted well and was able to to continue working with minimal impacts to our customers.  Staff intermittently worked remotely while still maintaining office hours to assist the public and licensees, and the Board easily moved to online public meetings.  We were pleasantly surprised to see an uptick in the number of newly licensed professionals during COVID.  Last year Nevada added 1,057 professionals—1,038 engineers and 19 land surveyors, 90% were licensed by endorsement/comity and were licensed on average in 3 days after submitting a completed application.

The Board was successful this legislative session in sponsoring a bill to make two changes to chapter 625 of the Nevada Revised Statutes:

  • Decoupling of PLS exams from experience requirements
    • An applicant can now take the PLS exam whenever it’s best for them and then apply for licensure after meeting all requirements for licensure—education, exams, experience.
  • Removal of PE exemption for certain gas line engineering done by utility companies
    • PUCNV will promulgate regulations on specifics of when a PE is required to oversee/stamp gas line work done by a utility company.

In the Board’s continued efforts to remove unnecessary barriers to licensure, the Board updated 33 regulations, eliminating several during the past year.  Please go to the Statutes & Regulations tab at nvbpels.org to see the most up-to-date regulations by which you are regulated.  We are working with the Legislative Counsel Bureau to have the online regulation law library (NAC chapter 625) updated.  In the meantime, be sure to check our website for the most current regulations.

It is a great honor to be elected chair of the Board.  I follow excellent past-chairs and have learned much from them.  I commit to do all that I can to continue to improve Nevada’s customer service to Nevada engineers and land surveyors with efficiencies to Nevada’s licensing processes and facilitate expedited mobility while regulating the professions in support of growing and diversifying Nevada’s economy.

If there are questions I might answer, or if you have suggestions related to how the Board might better serve you, please feel free to contact me through the Board office, board@boe.state.nv.us.

Did You Know?

By reading the following article you can meet the Nevada Statute and Regulation, Chapter 625, 1 hour professional development hour requirement.  For more information, please keep reading. 

Board Adopts New Regulations

In case you missed it in a prior newsletter, or you are a new licensee in Nevada, you might want to go to our website and review the updated Nevada regulations that you are required by law to follow.  The online Nevada law library for regulations has not been updated in several years, but the most current versions of Nevada Administrative Code 625 by which you are regulated, are found on our website:  nvbpels.org, under the tab Statutes & Regulations.  The latest regulations to be updated include:

  • Stamping and sealing professional documents
  • Submitting documents to a public authority
  • Documents prepared by a licensee

To read the above regulations that were adopted by the Board April 15, 2021, go to:  https://nvbpels.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/NAC-Chapter-625-Revisions-effective-Apr-15-2021.pdf

Despite the online Nevada law library not being updated, the adopted regulations are in affect and have the full force of law.  We encourage you to review our website, nvbpels.org and become familiar with the updated regulations.. 

If you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact the Board, board@boe.state.nv.us.  

Bottom line—take the time to familiarize yourself with the adopted regulations on our website—they are the law, and you are held to them.  Document the one hour you spend reviewing the adopted regulations and you will be ready for your next license renewal as you will have met the new PDH requirements as described in NAC 625.430 and 625.470.

NEW VICE-CHAIR and BOARD MEMBER REAPPOINTMENTS

Tom Matter

Tom Matter was elected by the Board to serve as vice-chairman effective July 1, 2021.  Tom is the first public board member to serve as vice-chairman on the Board.  He was initially appointed to the board by Governor Brian Sandoval April 18, 2018, to finish a partial term of a board member that was unable to complete their three-year term. Governor Sisolak reappointed Tom, July 1, 2019, to serve a second three-year term.

Tom is currently the Project Manager for Mountain West Builders and resides in Reno, NV.  At Mountain West Tom oversees multiple vertical building projects across a multitude of business sectors.  Prior to joining Mountain West Builders, Tom worked for Granite as the Vertical Market Manager with the primary responsibility of growing Granite’s Vertical Construction group regionally.  And prior to Granite, he was atCH2M HILL as part of its Industrial and Advanced Technologies Group focusing on front-end solutions for high-tech clients.

Tom earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and his MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Since graduating with an engineering degree he has over 10 years of experience in both construction and engineering design work.  Tom and his wife Kara have two children, Kolten and Reese.  For fun, Tom enjoys skiing, golfing, exercising, and coaching his children’s various athletic teams.  Tom is also an active board member for the University of Nevada Alumni Football Association and Strengthen the Pack, a fundraising group with a goal of assisting the University of Nevada, Reno in building nationally ranked athletic programs.

Karen D Purcell, PE

Governor Sisolak reappointed past Board chair Karen Purcell, PE to her third term on the Board effective July 1, 2021.

Karen Purcell, PE, is the founder, owner, and president of PK Electrical, Inc, a thirty-six-person electrical engineering, design, and consulting firm with offices in Reno, NV and Denver, CO.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Widener University in Pennsylvania.  Karen has more than 30 years of experience in electrical engineering. She has had the honor of working on several exciting projects such as Project Neon, University of Nevada Engineering Building, Nevada State Veterans Home, and the Denver Concourse B and C expansion.

In 2015, Karen was first appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval to the Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and is the immediate past-chair of the Board.

Greg P DeSart, PE

Governor Sisolak has reappointed Board member, Gregory P DeSart, PE, CEM, LEED AP.

Greg is the Principal/President of Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc (GES), and is the owner of Eagle Drilling Services, LLC in Las Vegas. Since founding GES in 1992, Greg has managed and performed materials testing and inspection, geotechnical, and environmental engineering services for over 4,000 projects throughout Nevada. Greg is a licensed civil engineer in both Nevada and California. He is a native Nevadan, having been born in Henderson. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in geological engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Greg has been very involved in the engineering community throughout his 29 years of owning and operating GES and Eagle Drilling Services. He has served as President and National Director for the American Council of Engineering Companies in Nevada, Chairman for the Air and Waste Management Association, and Past Chairman for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board. Greg’s current affiliations include the Nevada Alliance for Quality Transportation Construction, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Public Works Association, American Council of Engineering Companies in Nevada, and the Association of Energy Engineers.

Angelo A Spata, PE

Governor Sisolak reappointed Angelo Spata, PE, to the Board effective July 1, 2021.

Angelo is a licensed professional engineer in Nevada and four other western states. Angelo is a licensed professional engineer in Nevada and four other western states. He’s the Engineering Director for Kiewit Engineering Group, Inc working from their Las Vegas, Nevada, office. He was the design manager for Project Neon Design-Build in Las Vegas and has focused his career on overseeing engineering and design projects throughout Nevada and the Western States.

Angelo has lived in Nevada since 1976, graduating from Chaparral High School, attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and obtaining his PE in 2002. He is an active member of the Nevada chapters of the American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers. He has overseen a variety of community and educational activities, such as the Clark County School District’s education program, All People Promoting Literacy Efforts (APPLE), a computer funding and reading competition for elementary school students, and the Summer Business Institute Program for Clark County, which funds intern opportunities for local high school students interested in the field of engineering. Angelo is a supporter and contributor to the Nevada Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) initiative that includes scholarships, fundraisers, and outreach promoting students in pursuing technical professions, as well as the Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI) campaign to modernize, grow, and diversify the needs of our transportation infrastructure.

Robert Fyda, PE

Governor Sisolak reappointed Robert Fyda, PE, REHS, to the Board effective July 1, 2021.

Robert is a licensed professional engineer in environmental engineering with the Southern Nevada Health District who currently oversees the Safe Drinking Water program, Legionella investigations, and the septic system plan review program. Robert’s engineering passion is for decentralized wastewater and water system design and operation. By working with local jurisdictions and other state agencies, Robert works to protect Southern Nevada’s groundwater supply through sustainable development, proper engineering design, and good operational and maintenance practices.

He studied at the University of Nevada, Reno and received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He went on to receive his Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University in New York City. As a Bloomberg Fellow, Robert is now working towards earning his doctorate in Public Health as a part time student attending the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he is working on addressing environmental challenges in America today.

DECOUPLING:

Making Licensure Flexible for Land Surveying Professionals

There are four steps to getting a professional land surveying license:

  1. Pass the fundamentals of surveying exam (FS)
  2. Accrue four years of land surveying experience
  3. Pass the Professional Practice Exam (PS)
  4. Obtain a 4-year land surveying degree (as of July 1, 2010)

 

Since the beginning of professional licensure in the early 20th century, land surveyors were required to complete the first three above steps in the exact order shown.  The four years of land surveying experience had to be completed to be eligible to take the national PS exam. During the 2021 Nevada legislative session, the board sponsored a bill to update its statutes to change the process to increase Nevada’s pool of future land surveyors by decoupling the PS Exam from the required land surveying experience.

What Decoupling Means

Decoupling simply separates the requirements of professional experience from the PS Exam. Essentially, land surveyors who have completed the FS and have graduated with a relevant degree can sit for the PS Exam, whenever they feel ready to do so. This means land surveyors no longer must complete their relevant experience prior to sitting the exam. What this really means is we are helping land surveyors to work the exam around their lives instead of scheduling their lives around the exam.

 Why It Matters

One of the biggest deterrents to passing the PS Exam is time; the more time that passes between a land surveyor obtaining a degree and the required experience and sitting their exam, the more challenging it becomes to pass. While this doesn’t necessarily apply to the four years of experience (which will likely reinforce much of his or her education), it definitely matters when it effects life events like getting married, starting a family or other career starts and stops.  So, for example, let’s say a land surveyor gets his or her degree and begins their professional experience, and also starts a family at the same time. If that professional decides to stay at home to raise children, this could disrupt his or her professional experience for a time period. Decoupling allows these families to plan their test-taking so it fits into their life plan instead of scheduling their life plan around the test. And it’s not just about starting families (for men or women). Sometimes land surveyors decide to try a different career, or they want to join the peace corps or do other volunteer work. Regardless of the reason, decoupling the experience from the exam allows much more freedom for land surveyors to pursue additional life goals without having to forego licensure because they delayed taking the exam and are unable to pass the exam.

Highest Chance for Success

Anyone who has graduated with a degree in land surveying should be able to sit and pass the PS. Having relevant experience is beneficial, but not strictly necessary for a successful exam outcome. In fact, diving deep into a certain practice area within land surveying can mean that a land surveyor might not remember the breadth of knowledge required for the PS Exam. Decoupling creates the highest chance of success for passing the PS.

Blazing Trails

Nevada led the way as the first state to take the bold step of decoupling. We realized that the paired requirements were creating an unnecessary barrier for talented and smart individuals who simply couldn’t make the schedule work as it was previously structured. For engineers, the initial fear that engineers wouldn’t be able to pass the exam without four years of experience has been proven false. There is no statistical significance in pass rates between those who take the exam prior to or after their four years’ experience.  This proven success encouraged the Nevada Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyor’s to pursue decoupling for land surveyors.  It is Nevada’s hope that this could help grow the numbers of land surveyors seeking licensure.

The Nevada Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors is here to promote licensure to the best talent pool in Nevada. That means developing the right processes to ensure Nevada’s citizens are protected when retaining licensed professionals and that those professionals meet the necessary standards of excellence, while we provide enough flexibility to make the licensing process accessible to as many land surveyors as possible.

License Renewal for Last Names L-R (expiration date of 12/31/2021

For Licenses that Expire December 31, 2021—last names with first letter of L thru R—the online license renewal portal is now open. A reminder, that as part of the continuing education requirement in Nevada, amendments to NAC 625.430 are now in effect which require that two (2) of the 30 hours must be in professional ethics and one (1) of the 30 hours must be in the provisions of chapter 625 of NRS and NAC, Nevada engineering statutes and regulations. For more information, please visit the continuing education section on the board’s website.

In continued recognition that professionals were likely impacted by COVID-19 in meeting continuing education requirements for license renewal, the Board has directed staff to grant a six-month grace period for meeting continuing education requirements. If your license expires December 31, 2021, last name L-R,  you are encouraged to renew your license in a timely manner, despite not currently meeting continuing education requirements, acknowledging you will get them in the following six-months. 

Nevada Board Compliance Actions

February 2021 – September 2021

Compliance Case Number: 20210001
Robert Mercado, PLS 010352
Violation of NRS 625.410(5), NRS 625.340, NAC 625.425, and NAC 625.545

Date of Disciplinary Action: July 14, 2021

On September 10, 2020, Sundance Surveying, Inc was hired to provide surveying and mapping services for a vacant property located in Las Vegas. As part of the contract, Mr Mercado was to file a Record of Survey Map with the Clark County Recorder’s Office. Although the contract did not contain an anticipated date of completion, Mr Mercado informed his client that the work would only take a few weeks. Mr Mercado completed the survey on October 11, 2020, and emailed the survey map to his client on October 12, 2020. The survey map was not recorded at that time. On October 16, 2020, Mr Mercado was paid in full for his work.

Thereafter, the client made numerous attempts to contact Mr Mercado regarding the status of the recordation of the survey map, but he was unresponsive. As a result of Mr Mercado’s unresponsiveness, coupled with his failure to have the survey map recorded, a complaint was  filed on January 12, 2021. When contacted by the  State Board, the complainant stated that she filed the complaint in an effort to prompt Mr Mercado to record the survey map and her only objective in filing the complaint was to ensure the survey map was recorded.

On January 14, 2021, the State Board staff left a voicemail for Mr Mercado regarding the complaint. On January 19, 2021, Mr. Mercado responded to staff’s voicemail and informed the State Board that, although the survey map had not yet been recorded, he intended to file it with the Clark County Recorder’s Office on January 22, 2021. Mr Mercado did not file the survey map with the Clark County Recorder’s Office on January 22, 2021, as promised. On two more occasions (January 26, 2021, and February 1, 2021), Mr Mercado assured the State Board staff that the survey map would be recorded, however, in each instance, Mr Mercado failed to make good on his promises. During this time, Mr Mercado provided a number of explanations for the delay in filing the survey map, which have not proven to be credible. As of February 5, 2021, the survey map was still not recorded.

On February 5, 2021, the State Board staff requested that Mr Mercado submit a formal response to the Complaint no later than March 8, 2021. The State Board staff followed up with Mr Mercado on multiple occasions in that regard. On March 8, 2021, Mr Mercado informed the State Board staff that he would be submitting his formal response to the complaint by the end of the day, but he did not.

On March 8, 2021, nearly 150 days after the survey was completed, the survey map was recorded with the Clark County Recorder’s Office. The survey was stamped, signed, and dated by Mr Mercado on March 7, 2021.

On March 9, 2021, Mr Mercado submitted his formal response to the complaint. The State Board staff still determined that Mr Mercado’s actions were in violation of various provisions of NRS Chapter 625 and NAC Chapter 625

It is a violation of NAC 625.425 for a land surveying firm to engage or offer to engage in the practice of professional engineering without first registering with the State Board and paying the annual fee of Fifty and No/100 Dollars ($50.00).1 It is a violation of NAC 625.545 to fail to provide a written contract to each client which sets forth the scope of work, costs, and anticipated date of completion of the work.2 It is a violation of NRS 625.340 to fail to file a survey map with the county recorder in the county in which the survey was made a record of survey relating to land boundaries and property lines within ninety (90) days of the creation of such survey.3 It is a violation of NAC 625.530 for a licensee to fail to act in professional matters as a faithful agent.

Based on the foregoing, Mr Mercado stipulates that he violated NAC 625.425 by failing to register Sundance Surveying, Inc. with the State Board for the past ten (10) years.   Further, Mr Mercado stipulates that he violated NAC 625.545 by failing to include the anticipated date of completion in his written contract with his client. Also, Mr Mercado stipulates that he violated NRS 625.340 by failing to file the survey map with the Clark County Recorder within ninety (90) days of the creation of such survey map. Finally, Mr Mercado stipulates that he violated NAC 625.530 by failing to act in professional matters as a faithful agent of his client in connection with his performance of the services therefor.

Pursuant to NAC 625.640, a disciplinary matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by a Stipulated Agreement. To that end, to resolve the complaint, Mr Mercado and the State Board resolve this matter on the following basis:

(1) Mr Mercado shall pay an administrative fine  of $1,500.00 for his violations of NAC 625.545, NRS 625.340 and NAC 625.530 within 90 days of the board’s approval of the stipulated agreement.

(2) Mr Mercado shall reimburse the State Board $2,271.00 for administrative expenses in this matter.

(3) Mr Mercado shall prepare and submit a whitepaper within 90 days of the board’s approval of the stipulated agreement on the following topics:

  1. Elements necessary for a valid written contract for providing professional land surveying services in the State of Nevada (NAC 625.545).
  2. Applicable deadlines and requirements for the timely recordation of records of surveys (NRS 625.340).

(4) Mr Mercado’s Nevada license shall be suspended for twenty (24) months following entry of this agreement, but with the suspension stayed and probation imposed for the duration of that time period.

Compliance Case Number: 20210002
Timothy Prockish, PE 012931
Violation of NRS 625.565(3) and NAC 625.610 (5)

Date of Disciplinary Action: September 20, 2021

The disciplinary action was a result of facts brought to the attention of the board in February 2021 relating to the improper use and incorporation of another firm’s work  into electrical  designs submitted  by Mr Prockish and Dinter Engineering for the Washoe County School District O’Brien Middle School project (the Project).

The complaint alleged that Mr. Prockish and Dinter improperly used and copied another firm’s designs, specifications, and drawings from a number of the firm’s projects including: Wildcreek High School; Sun Valley Middle School; and Spanish Springs Middle School. The complainant became aware of Mr Prockish’s and Dinter’s improper use of their electrical designs when an electrical contractor working on the Project, believing he was looking at electrical designs created by the complainant firm (despite the fact the designs had the Dinter title block), contacted the complainant with questions regarding the Project. The complainant obtained copies of Dinter’s designs for the Project and identified multiple references to sheets and details that are not actually part of the Project, but rather were specific to one or more of the complainant firm’s designs.

Mr Prockish acknowledged therein that certain elements from the complainant’s designs were incorporated into Dinter’s electrical designs for the Project. However, Mr Prockish denied that such unauthorized use of  complainant’s designs was done intentionally by him. Mr Prockish also stated that, upon learning that complainant’s work product had erroneously been incorporated into the designs for the Project by a drafter for Dinter, he immediately took corrective action and redesigned the electrical designs from start to finish. Mr Prockish added that, following the incident, he  implemented new  policies, procedures, and training to ensure that this type of situation does not occur in the future.

Board staff conducted a review and noted  that the revised designs for the Project were markedly unique when compared to the original  designs that were stamped and signed by Mr Prockish for the Project. Staff also noted that the original designs for the Project contained obvious incorrect references to non-existent sheets, missing construction details, and erroneous design details. While it is unclear who, if anyone, directed the Dinter drafter(s) to copy specific elements from the complainant’s designs, Mr Prockish admitted that portions of the complainant’s designs were indeed obviously  copied, and  that he stamped and signed the original designs for the Project.

NRS 625.565(3) provides that “(i]t is unlawful for a professional engineer to sign or stamp any plans, specifications or reports that were not prepared by the professional engineer or for which he or she did not have responsible charge of the work.”1 NRS 625.080 defines “responsible charge of work” as “the independent control and direction, by the use of initiative, skill and independent judgment, of the investigation or design of professional engineering or land surveying work or the supervision of such work”. Further, pursuant to NAC 625.610(5), “[w]hen a licensee signs, stamps or seals a document containing the work of others, the licensee represents that the licensee has prepared or has been in responsible charge of the production of the entire document unless the licensee includes a written statement adjacent to his or  her  signature, stamp or seal identifying the portion of the document that the licensee prepared or for which  the licensee had responsible charge of the  work”.

Based on the above, Mr Prockish stipulated that he violated NAC 625.610(5) and NRS 625.565(3) by signing and stamping work for which he did not have responsible charge, i.e. the complainant’s designs that were incorporated into the Project designs and the work of the Dinter drafter that incorporated the complainant’s work into the Project designs.

Pursuant to NAC 625.640, a disciplinary matter may be resolved without a formal hearing by a Stipulated Agreement. To that end, to resolve the complaint, Mr Prockish and the State Board resolve this matter on the following basis:

(1) Mr Prockish shall pay an administrative fine  of $4,000.00 for his violations of NRS 625.565(3) and NAC 625.610 (5) within 90 days of the board’s approval of the stipulated agreement.

(2) Mr Prockish shall reimburse the State Board $2,679.00 for legal fees incurred in this matter.

(3) Mr Prockish shall prepare and submit a whitepaper within 90 days of the board’s approval of the stipulated agreement on the following topics:

  1. Mr Prockish’s and Dinter Engineering’s roles in what “responsible charge of work” in means (NRS 625.080).
  2. What it means to ensure responsible charge of documents signed  stamped by him (NAC 625.610).

(4)  Mr Prockish’s Nevada license shall be suspended for twenty (24) months following entry of this agreement, but with the suspension stayed and probation imposed for the duration of that time period.

PE and SE Exams

Good luck to future Civil Engineers and Structural Engineers taking the NCEES paper-and-pencil exams October 21 and 22, 2021! 

October 21 and 22, 2021 marks the last time Civil Engineering exams will be offered in paper-and-pencil. 

As a seasoned professional, please let your young professionals know that nearly all NCEES exams (FS, PS, FE, and PE) are now computer-based exams.  Most of the exams are offered on-demand year-round at a Pearson Vue Test Center.  Examinees can register directly with NCEES to take the exams and after registering will be directed to Pearson Vue to choose a location and time convenient for that examinee. 

Due to a smaller number of examinees for—

  • Agricultural and Biological
  • Electrical
  • Fire Protection
  • Industrial and Systems
  • Naval Architecture and Marine
  • Mining and Mineral Processing
  • Nuclear
  • Petroleum

—these exams are only offered once a year in October.  Register with NCEES early to be sure to get a seat to take one of the exams listed above as they are only offered a single day in October.  With COVID limitations, seating availability at Pearson Vue test centers can vary. 

The NCEES 16-hour Structural exam will remain a paper-and-pencil exam through 2023.  As a paper-and-pencil exam, NCEES will host regional exams in April and October, at locations yet to be determined.  In 2024, the Structural exam will only be offered as a computer-based exam at Pearson Vue test centers. 

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